The essentiality of literature

Camille Kelly, Writer

In public high schools across the nation, it is common for students to dislike English classes. Many high schoolers have said this is because they do not understand how reading literature is beneficial for life after graduation.  

However, reading and comprehension skills taught in school prepare students to be better contributors to society’s future.  

Studying literature enhances people’s ability to see from different perspectives. Teaching young adults to empathize with different characters in stories will also prepare them for encounters with all types of individuals in their lives. Stories are what pave the way for empathy and understanding. Without a class that prompts students to critically think about other ideas and cultures, our future society would be filled with much more imperceptive people.  

Literature also helps students formulate their own opinions and worldviews. Learning about different ideas and opinions in literature prompts students to think about what they believe and establish for themselves how they view the world. If people did not exercise reading and writing skills at an early age, they could not learn about history, culture, and self-expression. 

Johann Wolfgang von Goethe once said, “The decline of literature indicates the decline of a nation.” Literature teaches human values, written down for the purpose that the future generation will not forget the truths uncovered by those before them. If we did not learn the stories of the past, our culture would not continue to progress forward. English classes that require students to read these stories are beneficial for high schoolers transitioning into adulthood.  

Most people who do not believe literature is necessary in high school education argue that reading fiction does not prepare students for jobs in the workforce. However, the purpose of literature is not to teach skills for job hunting, but to supply students with knowledge to aid them throughout their personal, as well as professional lives.  

Studying the literary works of the past is one of the most important aspects of modern education. Without knowledge of stories from the past, there would be no hope left for facing the future.